Valhalla Cannabis in Sylvan Lake, Alta. File Photo

Valhalla Cannabis in Sylvan Lake, Alta. File Photo

Alberta Cannabis Council says the black market has become bolder in sales

The ACC wants to see steps taken to take down the black market and help small businesses

Between the black market and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), retailers in Alberta are having a difficult time staying afloat.

A committee made up of retailers, developers and experts in the field, Alberta Cannabis Council is trying to work with the Province and AGLC to move the industry forward.

However, there are road blocks in place for the retailer making the industry stall, says John Carle, executive director for Alberta Cannabis Council (ACC).

“We’ve actually seen the black market become embolden since cannabis was legalized,” Carle said.

The ACC says roughly 70 per cent of pot sales in Alberta are through illegal means, such as third party websites who claim delivery.

Delivery of cannabis is only available through, AGLC’s digital shop. The AGLC shop is also the only place in Alberta where a customer can shop online.

Retailers in Alberta are not allowed to deliver, sell product online, list prices or show pictures of their product online.

Carle says the ease of access is one reason the black market has not seen a decrease since pot became legal across the country.

The other reason is the cost.

“Prices through black market avenues are quite a bit cheaper than what are offered in store. Because of this people are choosing to go with them to save a bit.

“We are confident that buy legal cannabis is safer, cleaner and better than anything you would get on the black market. You know exactly what you are getting with legal sellers,” Carle said.

There needs to be changes to stop the black market and help cannabis retailers survive, he says.

ACC is speaking with the Alberta Government and AGLC about what changes need to be made to help the industry thrive.

“It has been a bit of a grind getting them to listen… we are confident they want to talk,” said Carle.

Changes Carle and the ACC would like to see include providing funding to the police to actively go after black market sites.

In addition, Carle says there are changes that can be made to help the retailer.

A reduction to taxes and allowing retailers to advertise would help small retailers, he said.

John Larsen, owner of Valhalla Cannabis in Sylvan Lake, says the road blocks are “getting old.”

“There are so many things we would like to be able to do, but we can’t because it would be enticing people to buy,” Larsen said.

Larsen says as a small business owner he wants to be able to give back to his community, but says the AGLC rules against him in many avenues.

“I’m allowed a small little sign on my truck advertising my business. Only one and it is half the size of a piece of printer paper,” Larsen explained.

“They are really strict about what we can and cannot do.”

Carle believes Alberta can be a leader in the new and developing industry that is cannabis, but says the government needs to work with them to do that.

“The legalization of cannabis isn’t moving the black market to a legal market. It is its own thing and an entirely new industry,” Carle said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy.’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake man charged with fraud totalling more than $100,000

Sylvan Lake RCMP have been investigating two companies owned by the same man since June 2019

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

(Pixabay photo)
Alberta surgeon who hung a noose in a hospital found guilty of unprofessional conduct

College of Physicians and Surgeons says sanctions will be determined at a later hearing

Most Read